Pamela J. Stewart,Andrew J. Strathern
The Palgrave Handbook of Anthropological Ritual Studies by Pamela J. Stewart,Andrew J. Strathern Summary
Ritual Studies have achieved prominence since the 1980s, when interest in ritual as an object of inquiry was established, bridging over a number of humanities and social science disciplines. Both connected with religious studies and independent of it; overlapping with social and cultural anthropology, but also with history; related to science and health practices and ranging across the life course to education, Ritual Studies has come to encompass studies of change and dynamism in social life. Rituals are determinate in form, but not static. They enunciate distinctive social values within specific contexts that frame them; and they relate to the wider concerns and issues of their practitioners. Due to this broad and wide-ranging scope, it is often difficult to find a single resource on Ritual Studies, and even more so to find one which moves beyond the beginnings of anthropological theorizing to grapple with the present-day contexts of ritual. Bringing together recent ethnographies of ritual practice and ritualization from across the globe, this Handbook provides case study of ritual in the light of Emotion and Cognition, Identity, Religious Power, Performance and Literature, Ecology and Ecological Disaster, Media, and other topics. While each chapter provides a deep ethnography of a specific society, ritual, or ritualized practice, each also engages with current theoretical and substantive approaches to the relevant topic. The scholars collected here provide original synoptic and indicative pieces as guideposts and pathways through the complex, varied and cross-disciplinary, and vast landscape of scholarship that constitutes Ritual Studies today and points to developments in the future.